St. Nicholas Health Institute


Custom Foot Orthotics

An ‘orthotic’ is a device designed to restore your natural foot function. There are a myriad of reasons as to why our feet lose their natural function. There are a variety of ways to help restore the foots natural function.

One way is certainly through the correct manual techniques that we use to adjust, mobilize, and align your feet, ankles, and the entire lower limb. However – we like to enable patients to better “hold” their adjustments in between their sessions.

Since we cannot be with you all the time – your orthotics can be!

Many ‘biomechanical’ (walking) complaints such as heel pain, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain, and lower back pain can be caused by poor foot function.

Orthotics re-align the foot and ankle bones to their neutral position, thereby restoring natural foot function. In turn this helps lessen problems in other parts of the body.

In addition, orthotics improve weight distribution, taking pressure off sore spots (e.g. the ball of the foot, corns in between toes, bunions etc) and they provide some shock absorption.


Who needs orthotics?

Orthotics benefit people with foot, heel, and ankle pain or those who experience discomfort during walking or running due to biomechanical issues. Imbalances such as flat feet, short leg syndrome, heel pain, knee pain and shin pain are known to cause other problems in the body in an upward fashion, likely leading to hip and low back dysfunction.

Orthotics however can be used by anyone. Most people once they start using orthotics, rarely want to be without them, simply because of the enormous relief that they get while using them.

While our bodies, particularly our feet, were not designed to walk on hard flat surfaces (such as our flat roads, floors, concrete) – but rather they were designed to be used to navigate irregular and varied terrains. Rarely will you see people living in third world countries need to use a foot appliance. That is because their feet are actually strong, healthy, and rarely exhibit the problems that people in industrialized countries experience.

Thus, we advocate the use of orthotics to help us combat our modern day lifestyles!

Can you wear orthotics during daily activities?

People who stand or walk all day will benefit from orthotics. If you suffer from pain during any form of sports or exercise then properly designed orthotics can reduce the pain associated with your condition. For overweight individuals, orthotics will help counteract the extra stress being placed on the feet.

What specific conditions may be helped?

Below is a list of all the conditions that orthotics can help.

Plantar fascia pain, achilles tendonitis, corns, metatarsalgia, sesamoiditis, ankle sprains, flat feet, neuroma, Tendonitis, Arch Pain, Heel Pain, Pronation, top of the foot pain, bunions, knee pain, shin pain, toe pain.

Imbalances in your feet can alter the bony structure of your feet and lower legs over time. Foot orthotics may eliminate and prevent arthritis and posture problems before they start.

Misaligned foot with the ankle leaning inward

Example of what an aligned foot looks like

Why do I need to get custom orthotics when I can buy them in a store?

There are many differences between custom orthotics and over the counter, store bought orthotics. Over the counter orthotics are more simple. They are designed for general for use by the masses and to fit as many different types of feet as possible. They are sometimes an improvement compared to the pre- fabricated inserts that come with a shoe. However, they do not account for the specifics that are often needed to be addressed in order to improve the way a person moves.

Custom orthotics are designed individually to address and improve your unique biomechanical problems. Often people have different foot types and some people even have different foot types on each side, from right to left. Custom orthotics are molded to your personal foot type and foot proportions.

Why do I need orthotics?

Imbalances of the bones of the feet can result in abnormal foot motion (over-pronation for example). This can impair foot function which can result in abnormal rotation of the legs and sometimes affects the knees, hips or back. If we combine these tremendous forces with the need for precise balance, we can see how small structural changes in the foot can make a significant difference. Orthotics help to address and improve those structural changes.

How long will my Foot Orthotic Last?

Usually between 2-4 years depending on the use. Custom orthotics can be ordered for dress shoes, regular tennis shoes, and high impact sports shoes.

Does it take time to get used to orthotics?

Your feet need time to adjust to a different biomechanical position. Orthotics should be gradually used to begin with. During the first 24 hours, use the orthotics for approximately 1-2 hours of light weight bearing activity (standing/walking). Each day following the first, increase the time in which you use the orthotics by 1 hour. During the second week of use, the orthotics can be utilized all day for light weight bearing use. After 2 weeks the orthotics can be introduced for heavier activity, running sports, etc..